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Redefining LP
Mike Lamb, Mark Stinde
& Kevin Colman

Quick Take #18

Organized Retail Crime
Lt. Tarik Sheppard, Jim Cosseboom and TJ Flynn,

Quick Take #17

View all published episodes here





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'17 National Retail Security Survey

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Harvard Study Proves Circle K Canada LP Drives Revenue
"Technology, Creativity Aid Loss Prevention"

Historically, loss prevention in any organization is seen as a source of spending. There seems to always be the need for new cameras, alarms or other equipment.

But a case study prepared by Harvard University Business School revealed that Circle K (formerly Mac's Convenience Stores) in Canada was able to increase average sales by $62,371 per store, above and beyond the average annual sales increase of roughly $30,000 per store, at locations where one of the company's community-based initiatives, a mural program called StreetART, was put into action.

Under StreetART and other programs developed by Sean Sportun, manager of security and loss prevention for Circle K-Central Canada, in-store robberies fell by 49% between the fiscal years 2007 and 2017 and associated losses by 90% from $117,467 Canadian dollars to $11,538. Incidents of robbery and other crimes decreased from 184 to 93 over that same period.

When a robbery occurs, an even greater expense than the loss of products and/or cash is the $100,000 average cost to the company's worker's compensation premiums for each employee who takes a leave of absence due to trauma.

"To determine how much our crime prevention programs have saved our company so far, just take the number of crimes reduced and multiply it by $100,000," Sportun said. "That promotes a clearer understanding about how security has impacted the bottom line."

COMMUNITY SERVICE programs - DETERRING THEFT at Quick Shop in Alabama

TO THE RESCUE - New technology such as artificial intelligence can identify potential problems before they occur or escalate and alert corporate security and law enforcement, said Lisa LaBruno, senior vice president of retail operations for the Retail Leaders Association (RILA). Read Full Story Here cstoredecisions.com

Indiana AG Curtis Hill calls Walmart anti-theft program 'extortion'
The state's largest private employer has ended an anti-shoplifting program Attorney General Curtis Hill said amounted to "extortion," after a legal review.

Big box retailer Walmart voluntarily chose to end its program developed by Corrective Education Co. and implemented in 36 Indiana locations that gave customers accused of shoplifting an option to forgo police intervention and instead pay the store a $400 fine and take an online course.

The Attorney General's Office began its review of the CEC program following a request for a legal opinion by Tippecanoe County Prosecuting Attorney Pat Harrington. Harrington reported his concerns that the CEC agreements employed by Walmart in Tippecanoe County were "private" agreements to relinquish law enforcement action, which Harrington believed to be inappropriate and contrary to law.

The "restorative justice" program in place at locations including Kokomo, Beech Grove and Lafayette was implemented as a "more effective way to cope with Walmart sees as a 'growing problem,' of shoplifting," according to a legal opinion published by Hill on Wednesday.

The store also cites what it perceives as a "hostility of the justice system," to the high number of shoplifting calls brought by the store, which has prompted cities including Kokomo and Beech Grove to pass legislation declaring the retailer a "public nuisance," charging stores fines for calling police often.

CEC's de facto exclusion of the police and justice system from the equation, Hill argues, bypasses citizens' rights laid out in the Fifth, Sixth and 14th amendments of the United State's Constitution.

Furthermore, the opinion questions whether the entire program falls under the category of legal extortion under the Hobbs Act.

"CEC's act of demanding a payment of $500 (sic) to its corporation under the threat of formal prosecution could be interpreted by a reasonable person to violate the Hobbs Act," reads the opinion.

Upon receiving notification of the attorney general's concerns, Walmart voluntarily agreed to discontinue the program. flyergroup.com

The Returns Story Continues for 2 Weeks+

Getting tough on returns is hurting retailers
Some customers at retailers including Best Buy, J.C. Penney, Sephora, CVS, Advance Auto Parts, Dick's Sporting Goods, Home Depot and Victoria's Secret are leaving disgruntled after being denied the ability to return items, in some cases even with receipts, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Those retailers and others employ the firm Retail Equation (owned by Appriss Inc.), according to the report. That company uses algorithms to develop a "risk score," based on consumers' shopping and return behavior, to help identify fraudulent attempts or serial returners.

Many retailers, including Amazon through its Prime Wardrobe program, Stitch Fix, Trunk Club, Warby Parker, ASOS and Best Buy have begun offering try-before-you-buy options for customers.

Rather than using algorithms to broadly ding customers on their return patterns, retailers should be using such data to identify problematic serial returners and fraud and to get a clear understanding of the true cost of returns, according to Brightpearl CEO Derek O'Carroll. "That's the only way to know whether a TBYB model will increase business and whether its a sustainable option."

While retailers must figure out how to manage returns, getting overly tough with customers in such an environment could hurt their brand and impede opportunities to make the next sale, according to Linc VP of Marketing Luke Starbuck. To cement a customer retention strategy, brands must be ready to help the customer during the returns phase, he said.  retaildive.com

Silicon Valley Companies Rethinking Security of Open Campus Concept
Following Tuesday's Shooting at Youtube Headquarters

The open campus concept has long been a hallmark of Silicon Valley companies, which say that interacting with the public encourages transparency and engagement. But this week's shooting at San Bruno's largest employer, Youtube, could cause some businesses to reconsider an open layout over security concerns.

Shooter Nasim Aghdam never entered the YouTube building, according to a statement from Google, which owns YouTube. She entered YouTube's outside courtyard through a company parking garage and opened fire where employees were eating lunch outside.

In a statement, Google said it is "revisiting this incident in detail and will be increasing the security we have at all of our offices worldwide to make them more secure not only in the near term, but long-term."

"It's going to be a wake-up call," said San Francisco architect Olle Lundberg, whose firm helped design Twitter's San Francisco headquarters. "Unfortunately, it's going to create a sense that they need more security, that they have to limit how easy it is for people to get in."

Several tech offices, including Box headquarters in Redwood City and LinkedIn's site in San Francisco, allow visitors to walk up to the front lobby and then get checked in. But after Tuesday's shooting, more tech companies may opt to lock their front doors and ask people to be buzzed in. Yahoo in San Francisco is an example of a company that already does that. sfchronicle.com

Donald Trump reportedly out to hit Amazon owner Jeff Bezos in the cloud pocket
The president doesn't like Bezos' ownership of the Washington Post and thinks Amazon is taking advantage of the US Postal Service for its millions of deliveries, so what better way to get revenge than over a $10bn contract? President Donald Trump's ongoing spat with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos may deprive Amazon Web Services of a $10bn cloud contract with the Pentagon, according to various reports.

The Pentagon contract is part of a framework deal - the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract - which is expected to last over ten years, with the defence department wanting to award it to a single cloud supplier. AWS was believed to be in pole position to win it, partly down to the fact it already has an ongoing $600m contract to provide secure cloud services to the CIA. data-economy.com

'24-Hour Overnight Challenge'
Viral trend has teens, twentysomethings camping out in stores, restaurants

On the cusp of the "condom snorting challenge" and "Tide pod challenge" comes another viral trend that's taking over the Internet - albeit, not as disgusting or dangerous, but just as perplexing.

Teens and young adults are attempting to hide out in chain stores and restaurants, in what is being called the "24-hour overnight challenge" - with everything from Chuck E. Cheese's to McDonalds to Ikea being fair game, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The goal of the new fad, which apparently started with two Belgian teens in 2016, is to sneak inside a store or restaurant just before closing time, and remain there undetected until the next day, the newspaper reported.

A quick YouTube search returned more than 1.6 million results, as people document their adventures from inside a Toys R Us, Best Buy and even a trampoline park.

Retailers and police are trying to crack down on the sleepovers, citing safety concerns and the worry it causes to parents.

A Walmart spokesman told the Journal it has been dealing with the issue of unwanted overnight guests for more than a year, with the toilet paper aisle being the main hideout of choice. foxnews.com

Target pays $3.7M to settle lawsuit over racial disparity in use of criminal background checks
Claims of racial disparity in how criminal background checks are used led to $3.7M class-action settlement.

Target Corp. has agreed to pay $3.7 million to settle a lawsuit over concerns that the way it uses criminal background checks as part of the hiring process has disproportionately hurt black and Latino applicants.

"Target's background check policy was out of step with best practices and harmful to many qualified applicants who deserved a fair shot at a good job," said Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, which worked on the case. "Criminal background information can be a legitimate tool for screening job applicants, but only when appropriately linked to relevant questions such as how long ago the offense occurred and whether it was a nonviolent or misdemeanor offense."

As part of the settlement of the class-action complaint, independent consultants will recommend changes to Target's current screening guidelines. For example, they will come up with a list of convictions that are not considered job-related and should not disqualify a person from a particular position. They will also review the company's appeals process that offers candidates a chance to show evidence of rehabilitation.

As part of the settlement, which was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in New York, black and Latino applicants who were denied employment from a Target store because of a criminal-background check since May 2006 will be eligible for priority hiring or interviewing for current open positions. Alternately, they can seek a financial award of up to $1,000.

Target is also giving $600,000 to five organizations that work to help individuals with criminal backgrounds find employment. startribune.com

Criminal Prosecutions over No-Poaching Arrangements Are Coming
Wage-fixing is targeted, too

Leaders at the U.S. Department of Justice's (DOJ's) antitrust division warn that their attorneys are moving toward criminal charges against companies over agreements among businesses that fix salaries or promise not to poach each other's employees, so HR should prepare. Until recently, this conduct exposed companies only to civil liability.

Makan Delrahim, the new assistant attorney general in charge of the antitrust division, has pointedly alluded to criminal prosecutions of employers. Delrahim has identified highly skilled engineers and other technical professionals as examples of employees who might be the subjects of illegal no-poaching arrangements. His remarks have highlighted a new area of potential criminal liability for companies and individuals that HR professionals need to carefully consider.

HR professionals therefore should implement safeguards to prevent inappropriate agreements or discussions with other businesses seeking to hire the same types of employees.

While a company, acting on its own, may make decisions regarding compensation as well as hiring, soliciting or recruiting employees, the company should not communicate its policies to other businesses competing for similar employees. shrm.com

Wegmans supermarket is tops in customer experience across all industries...
That's according to the 2018 Temkin Experience Ratings, an annual customer experience benchmark of companies based on a survey of 10,000 U.S. consumers. With a score of 86%, Wegmans not only received the highest score in the supermarket industry, it received the highest score in the entire Ratings - ranking No. 1 out of 318 companies across 20 industries.

Similarly, H-E-B and Publix earned the second highest scores for both the supermarket industry and the Ratings overall, each with a score of 83%. Aldi and Wawa Food Markets - each of which scored 82% and tied for 7th overall - also ranked in the top 10 rankings across all industries.

Overall, supermarkets earned some of the highest scores in the entire Ratings. The supermarket industry averaged a 79% rating, and came in first place out of 20 industries. (TV/Internet service and health plans were the lowest scoring industries.) chainstoreage.com

Here are the ratings of all supermarkets in the 2018 Temkin Experience Ratings:

Wegmans: 86%
H-E-B: 83%
Publix: 83%
Aldi: 82%
Wawa Food Markets: 82%
Trader Joe's: 81%
ShopRite: 81%
Save-a-lot: 80%
Food Lion: 80%
Meijer: 79%
Kroger: 79%
Hy-Vee: 79%
Winn-Dixie: 79%
Albertsons: 78%
Safeway: 77%
Piggly Wiggly: 77%
Stop & Shop: 76%
Vons: 75%
Giant Eagle: 74%
Bi-Lo: 73%
Hannaford: 72%
Whole Foods: 72%
AmazonFresh: 67%

Retail workers share "I shouldn't have said that to a customer" moments
Anyone who's ever worked retail has inevitably collected a handful of horror stories from their interactions with customers. Over on the Ask Reddit subreddit, workers have been sharing their most painful / hilarious / cringiest / jaw-dropping "I shouldn't have said that to a customer" moments and they're pretty relatable depending on your employment history. buzz.ie

Saint Cloud, MN: Avon Officer Jason Falconer to Receive Congressional Badge of Bravery; stopped attack at Crossroads Center Mall
Officer Jason Falconer will receive the Congressional Badge of Bravery during a ceremony at the Saint Cloud Police Department. U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar, Tina Smith and Congressman Tom Emmer will present the award to Falconer. He was off-duty shopping at the mall in September 2016 when a 20-year-old man in a security uniform stabbed ten people. Officer Falconer shot and killed the suspect when he lunged at him with a knife. voiceofalexandria.com

Tractor Supply Co opens 1,700th store

Sprouts Framers Market to open 13 stores in two new markets

Nine West reportedly nearing bankruptcy deal that would sell primary IP

Sally Beauty reducing headcount, primarily at its headquarters, first part of a cost-reduction plan

Target Opening Additional Small Stores In NYC And Chicago

Chick-Fil-A Will Soon Be Bigger Than Taco Bell, Burger King, And Wendy's

Horry County, SC: Officer Shellneil Whitman was recognized as the Central Precinct's Officer of the Month; she went above and beyond and paid the pawn shop to get the boy's Xbox back

In Case You Missed It

We'll be re-airing our entire 'Live in NYC 2018' broadcast from start to finish in the Daily's LPNN column starting today.

All the News - One Place - One Source - One Time
The D&D Daily respects your time & doesn't filter retail's reality




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"Retail sector top cyber attack target"
They're Back - At the Back Doors - New Attack Vectors
Targeting Large IT Service Providers & Franchisees
The retail sector was the top cyber attack target in 2017 (16.7%), as cyber attacks evolved to become more organized and structured, a report reveals.

The retail sector was followed by the finance and insurance industry(13.1%) and hospitality (11.9%), according to the 2018 Trustwave global security report, which is based on the analysis of billions of security events worldwide, hundreds of data-beach investigations and internal research.

However, despite the high volume of attacks on the retail sector, the report shows that incidents impacting point-of-sale (POS) systems decreased by more than a third to 20% of the total, which is attributed to increased attack sophistication and targeting of larger service providers and franchise head offices rather than smaller high-volume targets.

The report notes a marked increase of 9.5% in compromises targeting businesses that provides IT services including web-hosting providers, POS integrators and help-desk providers. A compromise of just one provider opens the gates to a multitude of new targets. In 2016, service provider compromises did not register in the statistics, the report said.

Phishing and social engineering was the top method of compromise (55%), followed by malicious insiders (13%) remote access (9%). This indicates the human factor remains the greatest hurdle for corporate cyber security teams, the report, noting that "CEO fraud", a social engineering scam encouraging executives to authorize fraudulent money transactions continues to increase.

All web applications tested displayed at least one vulnerability with 11 as the median number detected per application. Most of the web application vulnerabilities (85.9%) involved session management allowing an attacker to eavesdrop on a user session to commandeer sensitive information.

Targeted web attacks are becoming prevalent and much more sophisticated, the report shows, with many breach incidents showing signs of careful preplanning by cyber criminals probing for weak packages and tools to exploit. computerweekly.com

Hackers Targeting IP-Enabled Video Surveillance &
Other Physical Devices

The Unstoppable Convergence Between Physical and Cybersecurity
It has only been in the last few years that the networked enablement of everyday business functions has forced enterprises to embrace the fact that physical security and cybersecurity must be treated in a unified manner. But why haven't companies been able to converge? The problem has been the actual implementation of a converged security solution. Because physical and logical security systems have had little in common on any level, integrating them was seen as a costly and complex proposition.

Yet, that's changed. While some enterprises might not consider their access control or HVAC data a high-risk asset, hackers are often looking for the path of least resistance into your system and to higher-value physical prizes. That path can easily be through security technology.

Traditional "physical" devices such as HVAC, lights, video surveillance, ID cards, biometrics, access control systems and more that are now IP-enabled create an entirely new set of vulnerabilities that hackers will exploit and try to use to access a company's network to steal business or customer information.

IT departments at the end user level are getting more involved as the number of connected security devices expands and the rapid growth of video data and managing access control systems and video analytics continues to grow. In fact, at last year's ISC West show, IT companies exhibited alongside physical security manufacturers.

Yet, there are "some enterprise security teams who still look at the issue from a silo view because they were trained to view security that way. But technology is moving so much faster, and with a silo view, technology is going to roll past them. There are ways that you can segment the two areas in a positive way... but you cannot just continue to maintain the status quo."

James Turgal, a former executive assistant director for the FBI Information and Technology Branch, believes that video surveillance is one driver of a converged state of mind.

"I ran cases in the FBI where an organization had a great CISO, secure networks, policy, and governance on network patching and making certain that they were always up to date and protected their endpoints. But they lacked that same rigor on the physical security side. And someone found that they had no security cameras, and they weren't locking their doors. They literally entered the back door into one of the facilities and accessed the network directly while sitting in a lawn chair. So, that's a perfect example of needing to have all of it - physical and cybersecurity." securitymagazine.com

Panera's data breach puts attention on risks of loyalty programs
Panera Bread this week became the latest company hit by a data breach, acknowledging that customer information was vulnerable on its company website for at least eight months. As with so many other data breaches, this one raises questions for consumers. In some respects, it's grown ever more difficult to avoid e-commerce transactions. Many people now manage their personal banking on mobile apps. And consumers appreciate the convenience of ordering goods online. Every relationship and transaction raises the possibility of a data breach.

But loyalty programs, which promise perks and convenience in exchange for personal data, are another realm. And Panera's breach makes one wonder: Is a free sandwich worth the hassle of having personal identifying information floating into the wrong hands? washingtonpost.com

More Employers Are Using Biometric Authentication
But security concerns mean that passwords aren't going away just yet

Biometric authentication technology-including facial and voice recognition, and hand and iris scans-is now used in a majority of workplaces, according to a recent survey of IT professionals.

Sixty-two percent of the respondents' companies currently use biometrics for various security and business purposes such as employee access and data security, and an additional 24 percent plan to use it by 2020, the survey found.

Fingerprint scanners are the most common type of biometric authentication used on corporate devices, with 57 percent of organizations using it, followed by facial recognition (14 percent), hand geometry recognition (5 percent), iris scanning (3 percent), voice recognition (2 percent), and palm-vein recognition (2 percent).

Twenty-five percent of respondents reported using biometric authentication on laptops, 22 percent use it on tablets, and 17 percent use it on time clock systems to verify the identity of employees and prevent "buddy punching," the practice of workers clocking in for colleagues who are not present. Biometrics are also used for room access (20 percent) and for desktop computer logins (7 percent).

Barriers to adopting biometric authentication in the workplace include the cost, reliability concerns, systems upgrade requirements, and worries about the storage and management of biometric data, according to the survey.

"Many IT professionals aren't convinced biometrics can serve as a secure and reliable replacement for the standard username and password combo," Tsai said. "Unless technology vendors can address the security issues and privacy concerns associated with biometrics, the technology will likely be used side-by-side in the workplace with traditional passwords or as a secondary authentication factor for the foreseeable future." shrm.org


Educating the LP Leaders of Tomorrow

Introduction with Gus Downing, Publisher & Editor, D&D Daily

Filmed LIVE in NYC at Lord & Taylor's historic flagship store on Fifth Avenue during the 2018 NRF Big Show, where over 35,000 retail executives converge to hear visionary leaders and game-changing ideas that help them elevate their perspective of the industry and their business. It's with this same vision that we at the D&D Daily established this only-one-of-its-kind Live LP Digital Conference.

We'll be speaking with a host of LP/AP and Solution Provider Leaders about the hot topics, the ongoing issues, the programs and the solutions these providers offer to the industry.

These sessions are all about bringing the industry leaders to you LIVE on-demand so you can increase your knowledge, broaden your vision, and help deliver better results. Stay tuned!

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LPNN's dynamic duo tells us what's in store for the day, as we kickoff LPNN's 9th season!

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Stolen PII Continues to Fuel Fraudsters Attacking Online Accounts
Account takeover is back on the menu for fraudsters. While it never ceased to be a concern, recent high-profile hacks targeting payment card numbers reminded merchants that carding never went away, either.
But two other data security breaches-and the kind of information stolen-have put the focus right back on the types of fraud that attack at the online account level, including new account creation and synthetic fraud. This week, Under Armour acknowledged that the MyFitnessPal, its food and nutrition app, had suffered a breach resulting in the theft information connected to 150 million user accounts. At the same time, published reports also claim Panera Bread had a vulnerability that exposed personal information of up to seven million users. Panera acknowledged the vulnerability but disputed the number of records affected.

Both events exposed personal information rather than payment card numbers. In a statement, Under Armour said the MyFitnessPal hack yielded usernames, email addresses, and encrypted passwords.
Both sets of information could be used to round out stolen or synthetic identities used to commit fraud. Synthetic identity fraud is becoming especially pernicious. One recent measure said synthetic identities (amalgams of real and created information from several sources to create a single identity) account for as much as 80 percent of new account creation fraud. Another recent report tabbed merchant losses from account takeover fraud in 2017 at more than $5 billion-up 120 percent from 2016. cardnotpresent.com

Furious customers say they've been mysteriously locked out of their Amazon accounts - and they have no idea why
Hundreds of Amazon customers say that the company has closed their accounts with no explanation.

Last week, a wave of Amazon customers took to social media to complain that Amazon had mysteriously shut down their Prime accounts. With Amazon's increasing omnipresence in users' lives, that means customers lost access to services such as Kindle ebooks, Prime Video, Amazon Echos, and Fire TVs, as well as previously purchased ebooks and streaming videos, preloaded gift cards, and orders in the mail.

Tina White, a frequent Amazon shopper from Massachusetts, realized her Amazon account had been shuttered last Thursday evening, when she went to check on a package that was set to be delivered the next day. When she tried to sign in, she received a message that there was no account associated with her name.

The only explanation White has been able to receive is that she
violated "Amazon policy" or "review policy," though she says the company was unable to point to specific violations.

One person, who claimed to be an Amazon employee who works in customer service and spoke with Business Insider on the condition of anonymity, said that Amazon's workers haven't been told much more than customers. Yet she believed these "are not normal closures."

Based on conversations with other workers, she said she believed the
issue to be "widespread." But lacking a clear explanation, she says most customer-service representatives are simply confused.

Amazon appears to be dealing with the closures on a case-by-case basis. As of Thursday, an increasing number of users report that they can once again access their accounts and place digital orders, though not physical orders to be delivered. businessinsider.com

VP of Security at Shutterstock in NYC
Must be well-versed in AWS security operations, cyber security tools, intrusion detection, and secured networks as well as a working knowledge of IT Security Frameworks, industry regulations and standards, ISO, NIST, HITRUST, and their associated security controls.

The Shutterstock Security team is
responsible for securing all customer and employee data. We believe that security is core to our products. It means a lot of cross-functional collaboration with product and engineering.

Shutterstock has the
largest crowd-sourced digital content libraries in the world that includes images, vectors, music, and video. We manage a library of creative building blocks for a broad, expanding customer base creating new opportunities for every new customer segment, globally.

Estimated salary: Base $155k, range $99k-$243k. Total Comp. $197K, range $116k-$334K. shutterstock.com

Report: Despite Trump's attack, Amazon unlikely to pay higher Postal Service fees

Amazon reportedly may make bid for Indian e-commerce giant, Flipkart


DOJ: Fences Indicted in Multi-Million Dollar, Multi-State Criminal Theft Operations
Wholesaler Used Central American Undocumented Aliens as Boosters Traveling U.S.

Two brothers are set to appear in court following the return of two indictments for their separate operations involving the possession and interstate transportation of stolen property, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.

A federal grand jury returned the indictments March 28, 2018, against Yasser Saleh Ouwad, 47, of and Bilal Saleh Awad, 45, both of Houston. Luis Garcia-Oyuela, 33, a Honduran national who illegally resided in Houston is also charged for his role in Ouwad's organization.

Ouwad and Awad are alleged to have acted as high-level "fences" in multi-million dollar, multi-state criminal enterprises involving stolen over-the-counter (OTC) medicine, diabetic test strips and health and beauty supplies. The enterprises allegedly used "boosters" to steal OTC medication from large retailers

The scope of these criminal enterprises ranged from June 2015 to March 2018, according to the charges.

The indictment alleges Ouwad owned and operated Houston-based GPS Wholesale Inc. which he ran from his warehouse at 12440 Oxford Park, in Houston. At his warehouse, he and Garcia-Oyuela would receive stolen OTC, clean the products of anti-theft stickers and security labels, re-package the products into pallets and ship the merchandise to wholesale companies in the New Jersey, according to the charges. The indictment further alleges he hired undocumented aliens from Central America to travel throughout the United States to steal the OTC, beauty products and diabetic test strips from major retail chain stores such as Wal-Mart, CVS and Walgreens. He allegedly facilitated this interstate travel by fronting the boosters with travel money, wiring them money during their travels and paying the boosters for the stolen merchandise.

Awad allegedly ran a similar operation, but received his stolen merchandise at Cube Smart at 7001 Synott Road in Houston. The indictment alleges he cleaned and re-packaged the stolen OTC merchandise at his residence in Houston before shipping the product to a wholesale company in Oceanside, New York.

To avoid detection by law enforcement, the undocumented aliens would ship the stolen merchandise to Ouwad and Awad using fictitious names and company names, according to the charges. Once the stolen merchandise arrived in Houston, Awad and Ouwad or their associates would allegedly remove any retail store identifying labels and security features. The indictment alleges the fences would then have the stolen products repackaged and shipped to wholesalers in the Northeast for profit.

Authorities conducted a search of Ouwad's warehouse on Feb. 27, 2018, at which time they seized almost $600,000 in stolen OTC as well as inventory lists and numerous items related to his alleged criminal activity. The following day, Awad was found with similar items related to his operation at his residence.

Ouwad, Awad and Garcia-Oyuela each face up to five years for conspiracy to transport stolen merchandise in interstate commerce as well as up to 10 years for each count of possessing and transporting interstate stolen merchandise. All charges also include a possible $250,000 maximum fine.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations and the Food and Drug Administration conducted the investigation with the cooperation of CVS, Walgreens, Proctor & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, Roche, Abbott and Kroger. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Heather Winter and Richard Hanes are prosecuting the case. justice.gov

Owner of TheFinestWatches.com found guilty of Grand Theft; $161,171
A San Francisco watch retailer was found guilty of seven counts of grand theft in connection with an internet fraud scheme, county prosecutors announced today. Roger Kuo, 48, operated TheFinestWatches.com where he would offer high-end watches for sale on the internet, by phone and email that he did not have in inventory. Kuo would take his customers money and never provide the watch. Prosecutors said six different victims lost a total of $161,171. sfgate.com

Gypsy Sisters star Mellie Stanley is charged over using bogus coupons scam to obtain $18,000 worth of goods from Toys R Us
Former reality star Mellie Stanley-now known as Mellie Jean Lee- has been charged in Kentucky with using fake coupons to obtain thousands of dollars' worth of goods from Toys R Us in November. Lee featured on the TLC reality show Gypsy Sisters which chronicled the thriving gypsy community of West Virginia, allowing viewers to experience life in the sometimes outrageous Stanley family. Lee and her former husband were arrested in December by police in Lexington over claims she used bogus coupons to buy $18,000 worth of goods from Toys R US. dailymail.co.uk

Madison, WI: "Pawn star" spots stolen instruments for sale, identifies suspects
A local woman is being commended for her help catching a pair of thieves who stole more than $10,000 worth of musical instruments from a Madison shop. Known to Madison Police as the "pawn star," she monitors local pawn shops and second hand stores for items reported stolen. This week, she recognized three flutes and a clarinet for sale -- all recently taken in four different heists from Heid Music in Madison. Pawn shops are required to take a photo and record names of item sellers. Using these records, the "pawn star" identified the prime suspect in the instrument burglaries. nbc15.com

Baton Rouge, LA: Man steals more than $2,500 worth of items from Lowes, hits deputy with truck
A man accused of stealing nearly $3,000 worth of merchandise from a hardware store Thursday and hitting a deputy with his truck during his getaway was caught after the vehicle broke down. According to the probable cause report, Miestchovich was spotted in the Lowes on Millerville Road. The report stated a representative from the store contacted authorities after seeing him because he is suspected in four thefts from Lowes stores in the Baton Rouge area. Officials said Miestchovich loaded up a shopping cart with more than $2,800 worth of items and pushed it out of the store. The Deputy tried to get Miestchovich out of the truck but Miestchovich allegedly fought back, hitting the deputy several times. It added Miestchovich then put the truck in drive and hit the detective on his right side with it. wafb.com

Helena, MT: Repeat Offender/ Heroin User busted at Shopko with $1,100 of merchandise, doesn't go quietly
Jill Nicole Fry has been charged with trying to steal more than one thousand dollars of merchandise from the Shopko store in Helena. Fry, 41 years old, was seen in Lewis & Clark County Justice Court on Thursday, charged with felony robbery. Charging documents say that a loss prevention officer at Shopko saw Fry conceal $1,100 worth of merchandise in her purse and jacket on December 21, 2017. When confronted by the employee in the store parking lot, Fry allegedly began yelling "Rape!" and tried to hit the staffer in the head with a large purse. According to court documents, the employee held the purse while Fry tried to kick and shove him. She reportedly took her wallet from the purse and ran away. Investigators learned that Fry was wanted in Butte for a series of thefts, as well as criminal violations in Missoula. Fry has convictions for possession of dangerous drugs, issuing a bad check, theft, forgery, and tampering with evidence. kxlh.com

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Shootings & Explosives

Ontario, CA: Explosive devices detonated at Sam's Club; suspect in custody
A 49-year-old man was taken into custody after two small explosive devices were detonated Thursday afternoon inside a Sam's Club in Ontario. Ontario Police said the incident was initially reported at 2:08 p.m. as a structure fire after the caller heard a "popping sound" on aisle 4 of the warehouse store. Bomb squad personnel later confirmed that two homemade devices were detonated, but there were no injuries or significant damage. "Each device had ignited small fires to products within close proximity," the police department said in a statement. "Sam's Club employees acted quickly and used fire extinguishers to put out the flames." abc7.com

Federal Way, WA: Man shot at Federal Way Safeway store parking lot
A man was shot in the leg at a Federal Way Safeway grocery store parking lot on Thursday, police said. The shooting happened about 5 p.m. in the 2100 block of SW 336th Street, police spokesman Kurt Schwan said. When police arrived at the scene, they found a 19-year-old man with a gunshot wound to the leg. The man was taken to Harborview Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries. kiro7.com

Virginia Beach, VA Woman threatens 7-Eleven worker with fake bomb
Police said Crystal Mostek, 33, walked in the convenience store Wednesday night and put what she allegedly said was a bomb on the counter, threatening to blow up the shop. Police said they later determined it was not a bomb, but now Mostek faces charges of threatening to bomb and possession of a hoax device. wavy.com

Jupiter, FL: Walmart worker accused of pulling loaded gun, threatening coworker
A Walmart employee who had prior issues with a coworker is accused of pulling a loaded gun on the coworker after the two got in an argument Tuesday afternoon at a store in Jupiter, Florida. Suspect Mia Millines, 21, was arrested on an aggravated assault charge after the fight Tuesday at the West Indiantown Road Walmart, Jupiter police said. Millines allegedly grabbed a gun from her car, tucked it in her waistband and returned to the store. She walked toward the coworker, the coworker's sister and the store manager in the customer service area and, according to Millines, the coworker randomly punched her in the head. However, surveillance footage shows Millines lift up her shirt before the coworker threw the punch. Witnesses said she was showing them a gun. wsbtv.com

Robberies & Thefts

Update: Bronx, NY: Video shows 2 Armed men Robbing $350K from Target store
Police have released new surveillance video after two armed men robbed a Target store in the Bronx. The incident happened on March 26, inside the River Plaza Target store on West 225th Street in Marble Hill. Surveillance video shows the men walking through the store with guns before entering a manager's office and stealing $350,000 from a safe. One of the suspects wore a scarf over his face while carrying a gray-colored duffle bag. The other suspect wore a gray winter jacket, police say. The employee who was inside of the office at the time of the robbery was not injured. The men are wanted by the FBI and NYPD. news12.com

Seattle, WA: Marijuana Shops in the Puget Sound area calling for State help; Cash-based business is target for Burglaries and Armed Robberies
Three pot stores were broken into within the last week in the Puget Sound area -- the latest, happened Thursday morning in Tacoma. Have a Heart's Greenwood location in Seattle got robbed again on Friday. Now, it's calling for lawmakers to do something. They want more help from the state to get out of being a cash-based business. Robbers go for both cash and marijuana products. Shops say there would be a simple way to get rid of half the incentive - if they had access to banks and shoppers could just use their credit cards.  kiro7.com

Charleston, SC: Gucci thieves hit for $750 in merchandise
Police are seeking to identify two suspects who stole merchandise from a downtown store. Investigators say the theft happened on Tuesday at the Gucci store at 132 Market St. The men are suspected of taking a black belt bag 'fanny pack' valued at $750. live5news.com

Portland, OR: Man indicted for robbery, attempted rape at AT&T store

Phoenix, AZ: Married Arizona detectives accused in thefts, pawning of state-owned guns

Stafford, VA: Walmart Cashier Busted For Embezzlement; passing through $700 of merchandise to her boyfriend

Rockford, IL: CherryVale Mall shows off new Security Camera System; 300 views inside and out

Credit Card Fraud

Plattsburgh, N.Y., Man Admits Role in Stolen Credit Cards Use & Spending $500k


Portland, OR: Man sentenced for selling counterfeit Nike sneakers online

St. Louis, MO: Man Charged in a Federal Complaint in Connection with the Jewelry Robbery

New Orleans resident sentenced to 30 months for possessing 282 counterfeit credit/debit cards



None to report.

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